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Press Release

Press Releases

RMT: RMT announces strike dates on SERCO Northern Isles ferries over threat to jobs and services

RMT press release

Shipping union RMT today confirmed strike dates on the SERCO Northern Isles ferry services in Scotland after a massive vote for action provoked by the company reneging on earlier commitments to the workforce, ripping up normal consultation procedures and announcing that it is to press on with attacks on hours, the casualization of safety critical posts and a programme of cuts to staffing levels and services.

RMT members have been instructed to withdraw their labour on the following services at the following times and dates,:-

Orkney - Scrabster

* 00:01 hours to 24:00 hours on Friday 14th December 2012.

* 00:01 hours to 24:00 hours on Friday 21st December 2012.

* 00:01 hours to 24:00 hours on Friday 28th December 2012

Shetland - Aberdeen

* 08:00 hours on Friday 14th December 2012 to 08:00 hours on Saturday 15th December 2012.

* 08:00 hours on Friday 21st December 2012 to 08:00 hours on Saturday 22nd December 2012.

* 08:00 hours on Friday 28th December 2012 to 08:00 hours on Saturday 29th December 2012.

Aberdeen – Orkney – Shetland

* 08:00 hours on Sunday 16th December 2012 to 08:00 hours on Monday 17th December 2012.

* 08:00 hours on Sunday 23rd December 2012 to 08:00 hours on Monday 24th December 2012.

* 08:00 hours on Sunday 30th December 2012 to 08:00 hours on Monday 31st December 2012.

Despite extensive meetings between SERCO and RMT negotiators over possible restructuring, SERCO have now provoked the strikes by abandoning any pretence at negotiation with RMT over the issues at the heart of the dispute. The initial ballot for action was triggered when RMT received a copy of the Company’s letter of formal intention from Director level confirming plans to slash jobs with the threat of compulsory redundancies – while negotiations were still supposedly taking place.

The situation has been further inflamed by statements from the top of SERCO that they are prepared to run an unsafe and de-staffed scab service rather than resolving the dispute in direct talks with RMT. At the same time they have announced that they are spending £1 million on gourmet menus and premium rate services while hacking staffing down to dangerously low levels and widening maintenance schedules right to the edge of their legal obligations.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“SERCO are fully aware that we will not accept attacks on our members jobs and conditions and what is now an all-out attempt to bulldoze through cuts to core staffing numbers and the casualisation of these skilled shipping grades with ad-hoc agency arrangements and de-facto zero hours contracts. This strike action, in the face of this
deliberately provocative action, shows that our members are prepared to fight for their future livelihoods and instead of issuing provocative and misleading press statements SERCO should get round the table and resolve this sensibly.”

Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary, said:

“RMT members have shown that they will not stand back while jobs are sacrificed in the middle of this botched privatisation stitch-up. Staff are now stuck in the middle of a row between the Scottish Government and SERCO as to who is responsible for this shambles. Bottom line is staff on Northern Isles routes are threatened in the dash to maximise SERCO’s profits and that is totally unacceptable. This dispute can be resolved by SERCO simply playing fair by the staff who generate their profits and the ball is now firmly in their court.

“The public will understand that it is our members jobs today and will be cuts to services and increases to fares tomorrow. SERCO should withdraw this threat immediately and take up the offer of resuming talks through the proper consultation procedure as a way of resolving this dispute.”



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